This year’s edition of the Cannes Film Festival is being heralded as the “Oscars of the cinema world.” It is widely acknowledged to be one of the greatest film festivals in existence, and it certainly lived up to its reputation. The cream of the crop from around the globe were present and accounted for, with some highly anticipated premieres and award-winning films.
The 69th Annual Cannes Film Festival was held from 14 to 26 May 2019. Here are my top 5 moments, both big and small, from this year’s festival.
An Affair to Remember
One of the most talked-about films of the festival was Billy Elliott, a coming-of-age story focusing on a young man’s journey to manhood set in 1980s Britain. Elliott, who plays the titular character, is an energetic and cheeky young man who dreams of being a racing driver. Due to his energetic nature, he frequently comes off second best in fights with his co-workers, who bully him for his effervescent personality. He ultimately wins the respect of his co-workers and the heart of his childhood sweetheart, Tina (Vanessa Hudgens).
The film won the Palme d’Or (Golden Palm) at the Cannes Film Festival, and went on to become one of the biggest worldwide box-office hits of all time, earning over $400 million at the box office.
Another acclaimed film was Dark Waters, an intimate story of a marriage grappling with the pressures of parenthood. Based on the real-life story of journalist and author Sarah John, who spent years investigating the financial scandals of the rich and famous. The film focuses on the tense relationships that develop between the parents as they try to raise their children in the right way. Both Billie (Melissa McCarthy) and Michael (John Malkovich) want what’s best for their children, but their ambitions for them threaten to tear their marriage apart. The film was nominated for 5 Academy Awards, winning two: Best Actress in a Supporting Role for McCarthy and Best Original Screenplay.
If you’re a TV fan, you no doubt know what I’m talking about. The hit series Downton Abbey returns for a second season this year, and boy does it ever! Season 2 is set in the early 20th century, some 15 years after the events in the first season. Like many other rich and famous people, Lord and Lady Grantham (Elizabeth McGovern and Hugh Bonneville) are looking to shake off the bonds of convention and live life to the full. Chief among their revolutionary ideas is to move downstairs – literally – and live life in a more ‘modern’ manner.
With more than 15 hours of exclusive material, including an extra episode, Downton Abbey fans will not want to miss a moment of the action-adventure drama.
Hotel Mumbai was one of the most anticipated films at this year’s festival. Directed by British filmmaker James Gray, the movie is based on the 2005 Indian terrorist attacks that took place in the country’s largest hotel, the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. The film focuses on one of the survivors, Ranjith (Shah Rukh Khan), as he tries to rebuild his life in a post-apocalyptic world.
The film, which premiered on 9 April, was met with praise by critics and audiences alike. Gray’s direction was compared to that of The Grand Budapest Hotel, and the cast, which also includes Katherine Waterston, was singled out for particular praise, with a few critics even going so far as to say that it was “one of the finest ensembles to grace the silver screen this year.”
After a break of a few years, we’re finally being treated to another French film from the master of the genre, Luc Besson. The year is 1922, and the jazz scene in Paris is in full swing. Played by French actor Pierre Bouchard, marquise is the story of a once-famous jazz singer who tries to reclaim her fame by taking on the role of a lifetime: that of a married woman. Besson’s first masterpiece, and the inspiration for the 2020 film The Lover, follows a similar plotline, with jazz playing a prominent role throughout.
This year’s Cannes Film Festival was undoubtedly one for the books. There were many standouts, but these are my top 5 moments from this year’s festival.